By Lizbeth Solorzano and Alina Issakhanian
Coach Nick Kindel celebrated his 100th win with the girls junior varsity basketball team Wednesday, December 11 in their game against Chatsworth High School. Because of his dedication to his team, Kindel has collected several major accomplishments including four West Valley League Championships and 11 tournament championships.
Entering his fifth year as the JV coach, Kindel and his girls are currently 7-1 and just recently won the Burroughs Gold Division Championship by beating all the top private schools in the area.
“We’re young with seven freshman. Every day kids come in willing to learn and work hard. We have three junior captains that provide great leadership by getting players excited for the rest of the season. They have a great work ethic which erases inexperience,” Kindel said.
Kindel shows his team a video which assigns players different values in order to motivate them. There is a $100 player, who does the bare minimum for the team, a $300 player who does what is expected, and a $500 player who goes above and beyond. Kindel is proud that the team has fought with the attitude of $500 players, because they are dedicated players who give the sport their all, and are the best that they can be. They are leaders who go above and beyond what is expected of people and athletes, according Kindel.
Kindel has coached at several other schools, taking breaks in between before arriving at Granada Hills Charter (GHC). During his off seasons and breaks, he learned new methods in clinics held in Anaheim and Las Vegas. He meets with other coaches to discuss what makes them successful and learns new drills that could be implemented in his own practices.
Taking advantage of these clinics, Kindel emphasized the importance of defense to the girls because he believes defense wins championships. His goal as a coach is to make his team the best defensive team in the league. That way, he can give the girls the hunger that allows them to be more aggressive on the court.
Kindel also stressed the importance of different coaching styles since each player needs to be coached differently. He realizes that everyone learns differently, some under pressure and others more slowly, and for that reason he varies how tough he is depending on each individual player.
“When he coaches you, he really believes you can do anything. He works with every individual to get better in aspects she is not good at,” junior Belle Paez said.
Despite the individual training, Kindel pushes his team through two hours of intense practice because he claims if the girls can survive practice, they can survive the game, and many of the players appreciate that.
On the court intensity is heightened, especially in games against El Camino Real Charter High School because of their three-year heated rivalry. Kindel was once a player for El Camino when he was a student in high school, and later became a coach there. Then he became a coach at GHC, which only fueled the fire. Kindel said it made beating El Camino that much more special.
After playing basketball in high school, his passion for the sport continued, and he decided to do the next best thing: coaching.
“It’s a way to impact kids’ lives, getting them through the first year of high school, preparing them for varsity, and being confident so they carry it through everyday life,” Kindel said.
Although they are nearing the end of the 2019-20 season, Kindel enjoys coaching and looks forward to helping future GHC basketball athletes develop skills in the sport and in life.